BY EVANS MATHANDA
THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has defended the recent hike in data tariffs which it said was linked to cost movements and market changes.
This follows a public outcry over the tariff hike by telecommunication companies.
The data tariffs have also been reviewed every three months, making them unaffordable to most Zimbabweans.
For instance, NetOne increased the cost of 10 gigabites of data from $3 500 to $4 500 this month.
The last time that Potraz reviewed data tariffs in accordance with the telecommunications price index (TPI) that tracks cost movement was in September this year.
The review allowed service providers to review their bundle tariffs within the set thresholds.
“We wish to point out that the tariffs for the postal and telecommunications sector have been changing periodically in line with cost movements and market developments. Our principle for tariff reviews have always been cost based, hence as cost-of-service changes we always try to ensure that service provision is aligned to the costs incurred by the service providers,” Potraz said in a statement yesterday.
Zimbabwe Online Content Creators president Toneo Rutsito told NewsDay that mobile network operators in Zimbabwe were affected by inflation just like any other business.
“The biggest problem is that we are experiencing inflationary pressure. The elephant in the room is not an issue of data prices or what the mobile network operators are doing in Zimbabwe, but this is generally a big problem that we are facing as a country. Mobile network operators are forced to review prices so that their business makes sense because they also need to make profit,” Rutsito said.
A student at the Midlands State University, Sibusisiwe Tshange said data prices needed to be affordable, hence the need for Potraz to act.
“Data prices have become unreachable for many in Zimbabwe and this affect students who are struggling to catch up with e-learning. Data prices need to be affordable to promote e-learning,” she said.